Queen Hortense eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 341 pages of information about Queen Hortense.

[Footnote 56:  Cochelet, vol. i., p. 212.]

“I like it very much,” said the grave boy, “but I do not like my cousin’s governess, for having intended to prevent him from looking at his father’s soldiers.  Oh, how handsome they must have been, the soldiers of the emperor!  Mamma, I wish I were also an emperor, and had ever so many handsome soldiers.”

Hortense smiled sadly, and laid her hand on the boy’s head as if to bless him.  “Oh, my son,” said she, “it is no enviable fortune to wear a crown.  It is almost always fastened on our head with thorns!”

From this day on, Prince Louis Napoleon would stand before his uncle’s portrait, lost in thought, and after looking at it to his satisfaction, he would run out and call the boys of the neighborhood together, in order to play soldier and emperor with them in the large garden that surrounded his mother’s house, and teach the boys the first exercise.

One day, in the zeal of play, he had entirely forgotten his mother’s command, not to go out of the garden, and had inarched into the open field with his soldiers.  When his absence from the garden was noticed, all the servants were sent out to look for him, and the anxious duchess, together with her ladies, assisted in this search, walking about in every direction through the cold and the slush of the thawing snow.  Suddenly they came upon the boy barefooted and in his shirt-sleeves, wading toward them through the mud and snow.  He was alarmed and confused at this unexpected meeting, and confessed that a moment before, while he had been playing in front of the garden, a family had passed by so poor and ragged that it was painful to look at them.  As he had no money to give them, he had put his shoes on one child, and his coat on another[57].

[Footnote 57:  Cochelet, vol. iv., p. 303.]

The duchess did not have the courage to scold him; she stooped down and kissed her son; but when her ladies commenced to praise him, she motioned to them to be silent, and said in a loud voice that what her son had done was quite a matter of course, and therefore deserved no praise.

An ardent desire to gladden others and make them presents was characteristic of little Louis Napoleon.  One day, Hortense had given him three beautiful studs for his shirt, and on the same day the prince transferred them to one of his friends who admired them.

When Hortense reproached her son for doing so, and threatened to make him no more presents, as he always gave them away again directly, Louis Napoleon replied, “Ah, mamma, this is why your presents give me double pleasure—­once when you give them to me, and the second time when I make others happy with them[58].”

[Footnote 58:  Cochelet, vol. i, p. 355.]



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Queen Hortense from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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